IATA warns about possible airports’ capacity crisis as demand for international travel grows

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Governments need to urgently tackle a capacity crisis facing airports as demand for international travel grows. At the same, they should be cautious about private sector involvement, airline industry group IATA warned Monday.

With passenger levels projected to nearly double to 7.8 billion by 2036, infrastructure such as airports and air traffic control systems were not keeping pace, the International Air Transport Association said. “Major airports have sought to address the crisis by managing slots — giving airlines specific operating rights at particular times.”

But there was still a need for new airports, IATA chief Alexandre de Juniac said at the body’s annual meeting in Sydney. “We are in a capacity crisis. And we don’t see the required airport infrastructure investment to solve it,” he said, adding that cash-strapped governments were increasingly turning to private firms to increase airport capacity.

In the meantime airlines are set to step up the fight against human trafficking. IATA released guidelines on how crews can act as “eyes and ears” to identify and report suspected cases.

Human trafficking is the world’s fastest-growing criminal industry and the second-largest after the drug trade, according to the US State Department, and there is an increasing push for the aviation industry to take action.

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